Native Trail puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The champion juvenile is up against 14 opponents in the first Classic of the season. Trained by Charlie Appleby, Will Buick takes the ride as he chases a first jockeys’ championship.
Ante-post favourite Native Trail goes for his sixth win on the trot at Flat racing HQ. Stablemate Coroebus, the mount of James Doyle, also holds a perfect record.
“We go in there with two live chances and we are very much looking forward to it,” Appleby said.
Aidan O’Brien is doubly represented with Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale. He bids for an 11th triumph in the showpiece mile event, with Magna Grecia the most recent victor in 2019. Hugo Palmer recently took over Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables and looks to add to his 2016 triumph with Galileo Gold.
Dubawi Legend has the task of overturning Dewhurst form with the market leader, while recent winner Perfect Power is among the principals from the home team.
“It’s why you get up in the morning for days like this,” his trainer Richard Fahey said. “As a small trainer in the north, we are taking on the big boys and I just hope we can beat him (Native Trail).”
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2,000 Guineas runner guide and latest odds
1. 11274- Berkshire Shadow (Andrew Balding/Jason Watson) 50-1
2021 Coventry Stakes winner. Just over four lengths behind Native Trail in Dewhurst when last seen so work to do on form and lacks a recent run. Stable won this in 2020 but hard to see this colt following suit.
2. 245-21 Boundless Ocean (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning) 50-1
Opened account in a Leopardstown maiden. Form nowhere near good enough to win race like this as it stands.
3. 1-1 Checkandchallenge (William Knight/Daniel Tudhope) 25-1
Impressive winner of Newcastle (AW) Listed contest on just second start and likely has plenty more to offer. No reason why he won’t be as effective on turf and a lively outsider.
4. 121- Coroebus (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) 5-1
Impressive winner of the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over this course and distance in October. Has a smart turn of foot and looks a colt who could take high rank among the three-year-olds this term. Big player despite no prep run.
5. 1320- Dubawi Legend (Hugo Palmer/Tom Marquand) 22-1
Didn’t settle on the front end but stuck to task well to finish just a couple of lengths behind Native Trail in the Dewhurst Stakes. Tongue-tie on for first start of the season and should stay a mile no problem. Definite each-way claims.
6. 3-21 Eydon (Roger Varian/David Egan) 33-1
Huge jolt of improvement when running out an impressive winner of the Fielden Stakes (1m1f) on reappearance and could easily be plenty more to come. Bred to be most effective over 10-12f. Stamina for further will become an asset if they go quickly and he is a fascinating contender.
7. 11- Light Infantry (David Simcock/Jamie Spencer) 33-1
Came from well off the pace to win last season’s Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury (7f) on soft ground. Not seen since; clearly an exciting colt and impossible to dismiss despite this being the fastest ground he will have raced on so far.
8. 1114-2 Lusail (Richard Hannon/Pat Dobbs) 66-1
Best two-year-old run came at York where he won the Gimcrack Stakes in tidy fashion. Not at that level either start since, including when behind Perfect Power in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on return. Mile could stretch him and others have stronger claims.
9. 111- Luxembourg (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) 5-1
Very highly regarded Ballydoyle colt who made it 3-3 when taking the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster in October. Future lies over further (ante-post favourite for the Derby) and fast ground a slight unknown. Yard’s record means he deserves the utmost respect.
10. 1111-1 Native Trail (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) evens
Top class juvenile who won the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst with something to spare. Proved he trained on when running away with the Craven Stakes on return and sets a clear form standard. Easily the most likely winner.
11. 1511-1 Perfect Power (Richard Fahey/Christophe Soumillon) 10-1
Won five of his seven starts including the Greenham Stakes on return – his first try over 7f. Should stay but can be keen to post so can’t afford any pre-race antics if he’s going to see this new trip out.
12. 1112- Point Lonsdale (Aidan O’Brien/Frankie Dettori) 14-1
Progressive colt last year, winning first four starts. Firmly put in his place by Native Trail in the National Stakes so needs to take another step forward as a three-year-old.
13. 21118- Royal Patronage (Charlie & Mark Johnston/Jason Hart) 33-1
Rallied late to nail Coroebus in the Royal Lodge Stakes and easy enough to forgive his disappointing run in the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes given the testing nature of the ground. Proven over course and distance; could easily play a part.
14. 13-2 Tacarib Bay (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey) 100-1
Promising second in Free Handicap at Craven meeting. Needs to take a marked step forward if he’s to feature here.
15. 355-75 The Wizard Of Eye (Stan Moore/John Egan) 250-1
Beaten in six of his seven starts, most recently when three lengths behind Perfect Power at Newbury. Step back up to a mile unlikely to bring about the requisite improvement he needs to feature.
Native Trail sets the bar pretty high and the others all need to improve, to varying degrees, to reach that level. However, several have the potential to do just that.
Stablemate Coroebus is an obvious alternative. At bigger odds, the likes of Dubawi Legend, who doesn’t have much to find with Native Trail on their Dewhurst form and EYDON are also of interest. The Roger Varian-trained colt didn’t pull up any trees at two but he looked a completely different horse when coming from off the pace to win the Fielden Stakes in fairly effortless fashion. He’s a very interesting alternative at a big price.